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MariaDB 2023 Predictions: Amid Uncertainty, Four Ways Databases Will Offer Market Sustainability in the New Year


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Amid Uncertainty, Four Ways Databases Will Offer Market Sustainability in the New Year

By Patrick Bossman, Product Manager, MariaDB

In a world that increasingly feels like it's holding on for dear life-businesses are trying to hold on to profit and key talent, governments trying to hold on to peace, individuals trying to hold on to a sense of normalcy in a turbulent time-certain technologies offer us foundational strength and sustainability. 

It's databases that ground us and carry us forward. Databases back just about every kind of organization and have been rapidly evolving to meet the needs of today and tomorrow, abstracted across clouds and delivering high availability, scalability, and efficiency. Here are four ongoing trends that business and technology leaders can use to guide strategy and help bring certainty to their organizational success in tough times.

Abstracting away the complexity of hyperscalers puts business first

The "hyperscalers" like AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM, Meta, Alibaba and others have long been abstracting infrastructure hardware into cloud services, offering a utility-style computing model to external and internal customers. But diving into some of these cloud services dashboards, APIs or CLIs surfaces their complexities and inefficiencies. The difficulty of using database services in the cloud is being answered with the next powerful layer of abstraction: DBaaS that bridges multiple clouds and hybrid deployments, making sure that data across an organization can be leveraged in the fastest and most efficient manner possible. What's key is that this kind of scaling of the hyperscalers offers abstraction that's easier to use. That ease helps bridge skills gaps plaguing the market and gives those in the trenches the tools they need to put business objectives first.

Businesses will increasingly turn to distributed SQL for high availability, reduced vendor lock-in

Many enterprises and SMBs, as customers of the hyperscalers, have been exposed to repeated, region-sized outages. They're seeing that they can be vulnerable if they're reliant on just one cloud. They're placing a greater emphasis on reliability, on developing strategies that will help them not just survive major outages, but be more immune from impact. They're turning to systems that can go multi-cloud and will insulate them from the exposure risks of a single cloud provider.

That means deploying a cohesive database as a service that can be installed and run across multiple clouds in a single cluster and using distributed SQL as a way of ensuring high availability. Distributed SQL has reached a point of maturity. Companies that have been resistant to moving off their legacy systems are now seeing successful migrations in the marketplace. We'll see larger enterprises operationalize a distributed SQL, multi-cloud approach, with other organizations following suit. As data volumes and the number of AI-driven applications that leverage those volumes continue to skyrocket, a DBaaS that easily enables organizations to spread their database across multiple clouds and remain highly available will be a key differentiating factor in a tough economy-while those locked in to single vendors experience service interruptions. 

On top of availability issues, costs can easily soar when you're trapped into a contract with one provider and not diversifying resources for efficiency.

All companies need to have a "seasonal mentality"-with robust scale-in, scale-out to reduce costs

Business is becoming more seasonal in terms of the need for compute and database resources. While retailers, for example, will still plan for Black Friday, the unexpected need to rapidly scale out at any given time in the year, if a popular influencer mentions your product, or scale in, if recession hits, is quite real and imperative for the bottom line. Some organizations with tight budgets experience feast-or-famine type of situations, like educational institutions whose needs spike when school starts and taper during Spring Break. Behavior patterns, consumerism and buying cycles are changing long-term and being influenced by all kinds of new social forces, technologies and global conditions. Viral moments will become more common, and those require instantaneous, one-click scaling or easy-to-manage auto-scaling that can see the need and respond without human intervention. Businesses need systems that will detect when workloads are going beyond a certain capacity threshold and will just automatically add new nodes.

Where, previously, customers had to buy to peak and tried to find alternate uses for the additional capacity lying around, now they're not wasting money on something they don't really need. On the flip side, if the viral moment hits, people cannot see a 404 on your website. The ability to scale out immediately is an existential matter for applications built today. Extremely fast scaling is a superpower-and a cost-savings necessity-for customers this year and into the foreseeable future.

Additionally, part of modern elasticity with databases is being able to deploy a distributed SQL service that automatically decides what data to move where, across nodes and clouds, and routes transactions smartly. If you are going to build an application or launch a product, like some internet-connected device that has some management and configuration associated with it, how do you put that in the marketplace and not put it on distributed SQL with scale-out capability? You must in order for an interconnected application to be successful. Rightsizing your stack for applications is crucial to increased earnings and cost savings as well.

Investment in customer experience will surge, with no reduction in core-value innovation

Contrary to suggestions that innovation will decline as economic uncertainty continues, we'll actually see an investment in innovation that makes the customer experience better, not a roll back. In a challenging environment, there is more competition for people's limited dollars. Businesses will become deeply focused on what their core value in the market is and how to best deliver that value to their customers as seamlessly as possible.

Companies will continue their digital transformations and put themselves on data platforms that allow them to meet customer demands swiftly. While they're rewriting their applications with core needs in mind, it's the perfect time to reassess their stack and tune it for scalability and availability as their business requirements change.

Being mindful of the ways database abstraction, higher availability, on-demand scalability and customer-centric innovation across cloud environments improve efficiency will help businesses achieve market sustainability in a turbulent and, at times, unpredictable world.




Patrick Bossman has almost 30 years of experience with relational databases, initially as an application developer, DBA, and query tuner, then as a query optimizer developer, and database tooling solution architect. Patrick relies on his experience in his current role as MariaDB Xpand Product Manager to work with customers as well as MariaDB development, support, marketing, and sales to facilitate the development, delivery, and support of MariaDB Xpand.

Published Tuesday, January 31, 2023 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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